Thursday, July 24, 2008

13 Peanut Butter and ....

1. Jelly -- duh. BUT! Do you really use "jelly" or "jam"?? I'm partial to odd jams like apricot or raspberry. Most people like strawberry jam or grape jelly.

2. Celery -- Dieter's delight + it's fun filling the valley of the celery "perfectly" to the top

3. Granny Smith Apples -- I slice into 16ths (?) and use the slices like a potato chip, to dip in the peanut butter. Great while watching old movies during a rainstorm.

4. Pretzels -- Again with the dipping.

5. Hershey Bar -- Yes! A raw hershey bar, broken into those rectangles (don't go out of the lines!) and again, dipped into your stash of peanut butter.

6. Pancakes -- We used to do this when the kids were little and needed extra protein. Use peanut butter in lieu of dairy butter or margarine. Yes, maple syrup adds just the right yum.

7. Banana -- When I was in high school, I lived right across the street from my school. I arrived home way before my parents. So what did I do to entertain my younger siblings? I invented snacks. Now this was before the microwave. Our favorite? We named it the "Banana Extravaganza." Slice banana lengthwise. Now you have two planks. (slice several bananas so the whole gang can partake) Slather with peanut butter. Place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle chocolate chips. Mush them into the peanut butter a bit. Add chopped walnuts if you are inclined. Coconut is also a possibility. Depends on what's in the cupboard. Then slide the cookie sheet under the broiler, just until the chocolate chips begin to melt. Be Careful! Don't burn the walnuts or coconut. Nasty. And remember... it's hot! Don't burn the roof of your mouth! We were such brats, weren't we? It's a wonder we didn't burn down the kitchen.

8. Sourdough Toast -- I like the combination of these tastes. I toast the sourdough bread and spread with dairy butter. After that's melted, I slather the peanut butter. Need a glass of cold milk with this. Long ago, we drank real milk. Today I can do this with 1%, no sweat. I wonder how much butterfat is plaqued on my heart valves?

9. Graham Crackers -- I do the dipping thing. Why waste time and energy spreading?

10. Cookies -- Make your own cookie sandwich. This works especially well if you get those chocolate hydrox cookies (like Oreos without the filling). But I have experimented with just about any cookie -- two chocolate chip cookies, two Nilla Wafers, two oatmeal. I don't see how any cookie would suffer from becoming a sandwich.

11. Bagel -- I'd only recommend this on plain or sweet bagels, like cinnamon raisin or cranberry or even blueberry. Just thinking about an "Everything" bagel topped with peanut butter is sorta gaggy -- onion and garlic... nah.

12. Noodles -- This is a bit of a stretch and you have to be in the mood, but you can make a great little pasta sauce if you have the ingredients. Boil your noodles/pasta. While you wait, make the sauce. You'll need hoison sauce and soy, a little brown sugar, sesame oil (a dab), and maybe even some sherry. If you like it "hot," add a drop or two of spicy oil or a shake of pepper flakes or cayenne. Mix all that in your own proportions, 'till it's smooth and creamy (unless you used chunky peanut butter, which would be cool actually). You want that sauce to be "pourable" -- not too thick and not too thin. For extra pizzazz, stirfry some fresh beansprouts. If you don't have fresh, use a can of beansprouts or Chinese veggies. Toss the pasta, sprouts, and sauce. Top with sliced scallions and chopped cilantro (if you like that). If you realllllly wanna get fancy, sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts. Vi - o - la!

13. A spoon --
Yes, grab a spoon and the jar and you're in business. Of course, you can get seriously decadent by adding a jar of Nutella. Or a jar of honey. Or a jar of Hersheys Hot Fudge. Or a jar of Butterscotch sauce. Or a combination? Or... well... you get the picture.

Any "peanut butter and what???" you'd like to add?? Please do!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Today Casou might be sick. I'm off to the vet in a bit. When I consider the very idea that he might be in pain or sick, I feel responsible and caring and even a little sick myself. I have no idea why I love him like I do; I just do. I've been a "dog person" my whole life. Lotsa dogs. Lotsa lotsa dogs. And I've never loved a dog like I love Casou. That said, why do we own pets?

1. Unconditional love. Well, dogs do give us that. Yep, they do.
2. Responsibility -- keeping a schedule, making the house and environs safe. Casou actually keeps me from a life of forgetfulness and self-absortion. He checks my ego at the doggie door.
3. Patience -- when a dog "errs," the fault (99%) is the human's. Don't lose temper. Don't yell. Don't hit. Don't punish. Rethink where you put those old socks, those cupcakes.
4. Exercise -- well, if we walked, Casou and I would be in the BEST shape! Wow!
5. One more reason on a long list for friends and family to check and discuss how I'm nuts. "She'll go completely crazy if anything ever happens to that dog."
6. Topic of conversation -- "How's your dog?" "What kennel do you recommend?" "What hotels accept pets?"
7. Joining a group of owners, thus meeting more people, building friendships. Or, just walking with your pet. People come up and make lovely comments like "What kind of dog? He's beautiful." My husband, who usually waits outside stores and holds Casou's leash, meets lots of pretty girls. I'd say Casou is definitely a chick magnet.
8. Entertainment for the grandkids. How many times can they race around the room? Duh.
9. A valid reason to stay home, miss the party, avoid the buffet, or at least leave early. Okay, a good excuse. "But we can't bring the dog..." or "Ooos, gotta get home and feed the dog."
10. Some people clear their refrigerator and table of leftovers by owning a pet. Casou doesn't eat "people food," but some dogs or owners...
11. Companionship. Casou likes to hang out with me while I work. He's comforting and quiet. He knows how to support this writer.
12. A live reminder that we are connected to the earth and not necessarily masters of the universe.
13. A good sounding board -- I can say ANYTHING to Casou and he never tells. He cocks his head, listens, and usually smiles. He's great for brainstorming plot points.